Murdered on the streets of Karachi: my friend who dared to believe in free speech

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Sabeen Mahmud singlehandedly created a counter-cultural haven for artists, writers and thinkers in her home city. And she paid for it with her life. Those of us left behind can only ask why

“Be careful,” I said to my childhood friend Sabeen Mahmud when I saw her in London in 2013, soon after she’d received a death threat – neither the first nor last. “Someone has to fight them,” she replied.

“Fear is just a line in your head,” Sabeen had once said in an interview with Wired magazine – and she and I lived on different sides of that line. On Friday night, Sabeen was murdered, gunned down in her car in Karachi as she drove home with her mother.

There aren’t too many people from Karachi with a clear conscience. It’s a city of many horrors powered by even more guns, and fear makes most people live in a silence that becomes complicity. But Sabeen was always a woman made of different stuff, thanks in large measure to the two great influences of her life: her mother, Mahnaz (shot twice during the attack), from whom she inherited her socialist tendencies, and her friend and mentor Zaheer Kidvai (Zak) who introduced her to the idea of counterculture, via everything from Abbie Hoffman to revolutionary Urdu poets. While most of us at our elite school in Karachi lived in a fairly apolitical bubble, Sabeen was developing class-consciousness and identifying political heroes. Post-university, when most of her schoolfriends were choosing not to return to an increasingly embattled city, she decided to take another approach.

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Real Robocops of Dubai: UAE to introduce police robots ‘within two years’

Police in the wealthy United Arab Emirates plan to introduce interactive patrolling bots by 2017, and says “fully intelligent robots” could be on the force by the end of the decade.

We are aiming to provide these kinds of services as the population is expanding. This way we can provide better services without hiring more people,” Colonel Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, who heads the city’s ‘smart’ unit, said during a keynote speech at the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference, Dubai’s Khaleej Times report.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/253529-police-robot-dubai-robocop/

Obama: ‘No excuse’ for violence in Baltimore

By Eric Bradner, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned the “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city of Baltimore on Monday night, after rioting and looting paralyzed the city and overwhelmed local officials.

The sustained outbreak of violence followed the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died after he was arrested more than two weeks ago. Cars were set on fire, stores were destroyed, and six officers were seriously injured. It was the first time Obama has commented on the turmoil in Baltimore that has followed Gray’s death.

“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said at a press conference from the White House. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”

Read more » CNN
See more » http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/28/politics/obama-baltimore-violent-protests/index.html?sr=tw042815obamabaltimore330pVODtopPhoto